What do you focus on? What would it be like if you focused on gratitude each day? Gratitude is not just the key to living with a joyful expectation it is about using it daily and enjoying the way it feels. Yes, there are all kinds of distractions in life from a negative attitude to your upbringing that may get in the way. All you really have to do is commit to focusing on what is right in your life and the brain will naturally work to track success. As you get older, you get schooled in your mistakes, and learn to focus on what’s not right, what is lacking, missing, inadequate, and painful. That is why gratitude can be so powerful. It helps you to return to your natural state of joyfulness where you notice what’s right instead of what’s wrong. Gratitude reminds you to be like a plant, turning toward, not away from the light. Gratitude can have beneficial effects on health. They do so by strengthening and enhancing the immune system, which enable the body to resist disease and recover more quickly from illness, through the release of endorphins into the bloodstream. Endorphins are the body’s natural painkillers. They also stimulate dilation of the blood vessels which leads to a relaxed heart.
Conversely, negative emotions such as worry, anger, hopelessness reduce the number and slow down the movement of disease fighting white cells in our bloodstream and contribute to the development of stroke and heart disease by dumping high levels of adrenaline into the bloodstream. Adrenaline constricts blood vessels particularly to the heart, raising blood pressure and potentially damaging arteries and the heart itself.
So how do you get started?
1) Keep a Daily Gratitude Journal
This is probably the most effective strategy for increasing your level of gratitude. Set aside time daily to record several things that you are grateful for. (Typically, people list three to five.) You can write when you get up or at the end of the day. Pick a time that you will consistently have available. The important thing is to establish the daily practice of paying attention to gratitude-inspiring events and to write them down..
2) Use Visual Reminders
Two obstacles to being grateful are forgetfulness and lack of awareness. You can counter them by giving yourself visual cues that trigger thoughts of gratitude. You can list your blessings in many places, including on his refrigerator, mirrors and the steering wheel of his car. Another strategy is to set a pager, computer or PDA to signal you at random times during the day and to use the signal to pause and count blessings.
3) Have a Gratitude Partner
Social support encourages healthy behaviors, because we often lack the discipline to do things on our own. Just as you may be more likely to exercise if you have an exercise partner or participate in a class, you may be able to maintain the discipline of gratitude more easily if you have a partner with whom to share gratitude lists and to discuss the effects of gratitude in your life. It is true if we hang out with ungrateful people, we will ‘catch' one set of emotions; if we choose to associate with more grateful individuals, the influence will be in another direction. Find a grateful person and spend more time with him or her."
4) Change Your Self-Talk
We all carry on an inner dialogue with ourselves that is often called "self-talk." When this inner conversation is negative, our mood is usually low. Research has shown that we can change our mood by changing the tone of the things we say to ourselves.
Here’s to your health